Articulating the theory of bullying intervention programs: Views from social psychology, social work, and organizational science

Patricia H. Hawley, Anne Williford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Outcomes associated with bullying intervention programs have been described in their collective as "disappointing" (Stassen Berger, 2007). As anxiety mounts about the prevalence and severity of bullying incidents in schools, reactive yet ineffective policy initiatives often result (e.g., criminalizing bullying). These initiatives, though well intentioned, result from a lack of understanding of the complexity of the school ecology and mechanisms of behavioral change. Moreover, the modest effects often found for antibullying interventions may be due, in part, to the lack of a clearly articulated, comprehensive, and coherent theoretical grounding to explain each programmatic element of commonly used interventions in North America, and, importantly, the interactions among them. In this opening piece to the present collection of papers, we focus on the mechanisms underlying the attitudes and behaviors of constituents within a school's ecology and the communities within which the school is embedded. To that end, the present piece articulates theoretical views from social psychology, social work, and organizational science, frameworks heretofore overlooked by the bullying intervention literature. Strategies for increasing the visibility of this work to community stakeholders are also discussed. Thus, this special issue seeks to stimulate dialog among interventionists to improve the policy and practice response to bullying behavior among children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-15
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Bullying
  • Intervention
  • Prevention
  • Theory

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